Pandemic Pondering #339

There was a time when Thursday blogs were based on my experiences as a gallery guide at The Box. A Pandemic put a stop to that but here we are on a Thursday and this blog will be distinctly Boxlike.

Not Real World of course. Another new tech experience .

The Box Quiz

The people with all the questions and all of the answers.
Two of many categories

The low tech answer sheet.

What I can’t show you are my fellow competitors. Microsoft Teams was new to me and I had failed to download the system . In consequence only the hosts/quizmasters were visible to me eveyone else was just a disembodied voice as I was to them!

The questions were fired at us at speed, all the better to thwart googling cheats. It was a fabulous quiz and reassuring that I could actually retrieve random facts from my pandemic befuddled mind.

As it happens @theoldmortuary did quite well. Which just goes to prove that straddling the digital/ Analogue divide is entirely possible, especially if you have your comfy pants on. Or even if you don’t. No video evidence!

So thats it, another Thursday Box Tale.

Thanks to everyone who made the magic happen.

Pandemic Pondering #275

Baubles, stars and twinkle. I’ve always been a museum and gallery kind of person. When my children were small I always chose a theme to keep them interested. I used the same thought process for my shift at The Box today, hunting out Christmas decorations cunningly disguised as exhibits in the Natural History Department. The magnificent egg collection was an easy replacement for baubles.

Cushion Starfish make pretty good stars.

Twinkle was provided by beetles and minerals.

Even the mince pie gift at the end of the day seemed a little closer to a starfish than a star.

All these pictures were taken in the Mammoth Gallery. For once she was not the main event. But she is not to be ignored.

©thebox

Pandemic Pondering #260

My first day back at The Box after Lockdown 2, and my first day in a new- to-me gallery.

I could give you the official description of Port of Plymouth 1 but yesterday for an hour or so I had a unique experience. The gallery was almost empty and I had the chance to explore it unencumbered with any responsibility for the well being of visitors.

The portrait above is of an anonymous fisherman, he is the human face of the character of this gallery. The gallery yesterday represented to me the biography of the city. Port of Plymouth 1 tells the story, the basis almost, of every other gallery in the museum. The sort of thing that might be written on the back of a funeral service booklet to give an over view of  the deceaseds life. Of course Plymouth has not died and under current circumstances enjoys relatively good health.

I deliberately chose a man’s photograph because the gallery has a woman’s voice. Dawn French narrates two audio visual presentations within Port 1 and  while you are in the space you are never very far away from her voice. This is a brilliant piece of gender balance because inevitably Port 1 is for the most part a man’s world. Not because women played no part in the history of Plymouth but because history has traditionally sidelined women’s contribution. It is only really the 20 th Century exhibits that begin to truly reflect the importance of women to the city.

©The Box

As you enter Port of Plymouth 1 there is a massive 3D screen showing a film presentation of the developmental history of  Plymouth. The film is one of the exhibits narrated by Dawn French. Currently with Covid-19 restrictions only about twelve people can view it at any one time, with so few people it is hard to gauge the impact but later in my morning a whole school group of about 40 watched it together and the impact on them as a large group was remarkable, when the museum can open as normal this will be a memorable group activity.

@theoldmortuary we are in the process of moving home. It was a little bit strange to view our proposed new location as history evolved over it and  in the WW2 era bombs landed very close.

©The Box
©The Box

Ambient Lighting in Port of Plymouth 1 is subdued but the lighting of each exhibit is so beautifully done that even when it is full of people ( a future aspiration) it is really easy to concentrate and understand the significance of each exhibit.

One historic artifact was simple but poignant.

©The Box

The Falklands Conflict left a big mark on the recentish memory of Plymouth

©The Box

This is the point that pondering has to stop, just like the Dockyard Gate photo above, the visitors started to arrive. There is loads more to talk about but visitor safety and smiling took over my time.

Pandemic Pondering #225

I apologise for this week’s blogging being a  little ‘Art’ heavy.

Today is another day at The Box. An organisational conundrum gave me the theme for today’s blog. Volunteers have to check into the Breakout Room to collect their passes and sign in for their session. The conundrum is that to gain access to the Breakout room you need a pass. Inevitably this leads to a bit of hanging around until someone with a pass appears or someone inside realises you are waiting to be granted access. Today I had a bit of a wait but while waiting I noticed this mural in the education room opposite.

The mural was painted in 1950 by Wyn George in, what was, the Children’s Department of the Central Library. At the time he was an Art teacher at Devonport High School for Boys. He was also President of Plymouth Society of Artists, a position he held for 20 years 1951-71. The mural was discovered behind boarding during the building of the box. The original sketches and plans were held in the archives, using them, the mural was able to be brought back to its current vibrant appearance.

Wyn George was born in Wales in 1910, but loved the landscape of Cornwall. He exhibited with Newlyn and St Ives Societies of Artists. He trained to be a teacher at Central School of Art London following earlier studies at Cardiff School of Art. During the war he was a Navigational Officer in the Royal Navy. He lived and had a studio in Ivybridge when he was teaching in Plymouth He died in 1985

This mural was one of two that he was commissioned to do in Plymouth. The other is at The Guildhall. Something to investigate for a future blog.